Chapter eight traces the tortured development of MGM’s big budgeted original musical Goodbye, Mr. Chips, based on the James Hilton novel and the 1939 MGM film. Arthur Jacobs (Doctor Dolittle) was to produce. Many directors, screenwriters, composers, and actors were fleetingly attached to this project. First director was Vincente Minnelli with dramatist-screenwriter Terence Rattigan. André and Dory Previn were contracted to write the score, but soon ran afoul of Jacobs with creative conflicts and procrastination. Rex Harrison was the first choice for the title role, but he played a yes/no game that tired Jacobs. Other distinguished British actors, all with limited musical abilities, were suggested, while the role of Mrs. Chips was considered for Audrey Hepburn, Samantha Eggar, Julie Andrews, Lee Remick, and Maggie Smith. After much wrangling, the film would be directed by newcomer Herbert Ross, with music by Leslie Bricusse, and starring Peter O’Toole and Petula Clark.
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